When google announced this little box of tricks that connected to your speakers and turned any normal system into a fully connected one, I was intrigued to try it out.
I’m going to run through getting it out the box, setting it up and how I find the range of apps available. My main one that I will be using though is spotify connect however I will me trying out other services like google music.
Speaking of Google music, I’ve been having a bit of trouble with uploading my own collection. The music manager application is completely inaccessible to mac and windows users due to the way its designed and built. I tried the web app for chrome and on mac it’s a little bit difficult as chrome isn’t the best of browsers to get around, but I managed to get a few tracks uploaded. However, I tried uploading a big folder but I can’t see the status of the upload; progress, ETC. Anyway, back to the main point of this post.
It’s a very nice google style box; the same type (just a bit smaller) that my nexus came in. You don’t get a lot in the box but the device itself is presented first. If you don’t know what one looks like, it’s a small round disk, with grooves on it like a vinyl.
It has an input for the micro USB cable, a 3.5 output jack and a button which I think resets the device although I’m not sure. Surrounding the device in the box is a small 3.5MM to 3.5MM cable; trust me it’s small. Once you’ve lifted the device out there is a very nice power adapter and a longer usb to micro USB cable then I was expecting. Good quality as well. And that’s it.
Setup was the easiest thing I think I’ve ever done, plug the device in to power and your system, choose add a device in the Chromecast app, choose Chromecast audio, join the WiFi network it has created, play a test tone, enter a name, join your WiFi and then you’re ready to start casting things. It is as simple as that.
Of the apps I had installed on my phone, I could cast from: Google play music, spotify and TuneIn radio.
First impressions and review
Spotify was my first choice as it’s the service I use the most and pay for. I loaded up a playlist, hit the button to choose a spotify connect device and my Chromecast appeared straight away. One double-tap, and pleasing tone later, music stopped playing from my phone and through my speakers. Honestly it was so easy I found myself thinking “surely it can’t be this simple”, but it really is.
I went into the Chromecast app just to play around and see what settings I could tweak and fchange. You can change the name of your device, the WiFi network, timezone, time format, language, turn the feedback sounds on and off, turn on and off guest mode (more that in a bit) and turn on something google is calling “high dynamic range, for AVRs and HiFi systems”. I turned this on as I had it connected to my 2.1 system at the time and it made one hell of a difference. Before it sounded a bit flat and boring but this made the sound louder and boosted all the frequencies. As I write this (not at the time of posting) I’ve got it connected to our sound bar playing a spotify station and the ‘high dynamic range’ is making a big difference there as well. I then moved on to tune in because I thought “Hey! £35 internet radio!” But alas, this was not to be had. Every station I tried to cast brought up an error saying that I couldn’t cast it. I was disappointed that I wouldn’t be able to use this as a radio but Spotify is good enough.
I also tried a couple of tracks that I had stored in my google music library and no problem there, tap cast and they start playing. I also just tried Rdio and the app is a little bit difficult to get around but I managed to get that playing through the Chromecast audio no problem.
I would like to see more apps, e.g. it would be nice to have an app that could cast your music stored on your phone, but I suppose google users have that with play music. Also, Google did try and get Apple music support on board but it never came through. I have yet to try this with android but as soon as I do I will be back with my experience.
It’s a lovely little device that works like a dream, as long as you have a Rdio or SPotify subscription or are a google play music user. It does exactly what it says on the tin though, it’s turned my speakers from boring offline speakers to WiFi-enabled ones that I can play Spotify one without paying over the odds for a dedicated streamer or something like a Sonos system.
Thanks for reading, and keep watching out for more reviews in the future.